The holidays are around the corner, and it only gets more exciting with every passing year. Holidays are to be spent with the extended family. It is a brilliant time to cook together and come together as a family. While it is obviously fun, it is not-so-evidently quite stressful. While a get-together is sometimes a reason for rejoicing, it causes anxiety and discord at other times, which is why you need to take some time out for yourself. This holiday season, make the most of it and learn to ensure optimum mental health to keep anxiety at bay. But how do you do it? Journaling can help. If you started journaling, you would be able to figure out what’s going right and what’s not in your life. Journaling for mental health can prove magical for you. But how to start journaling for mental health is the question? How do you even begin? Let us unearth it all, step-by-step.
Coping with issues pertaining to mental health can be extremely challenging, but journaling can help. Journaling for mental health is a kind of self-talk therapy that can help you deal with all sorts of anxiety, stress, nervousness and depression. All you need to do is pick a time you can conveniently devote to writing every day and get started. Write about all that comes to your mind for 20-minute straight without any distractions. Use your journal to observe and process your feelings or work on your personal, professional, or self-improvement goals. That’s it. It is that simple.
But what is journaling? What does it require you to do? It is an act of recording your personal feelings, thoughts, actions, insights and more. Whether you write, draw, or type is irrelevant. You can do it the way you like it. But do it compulsorily. Journaling for mental health is one of the simplest, low-cost ways of improving it. But it is easier said than done. Journaling is not easy at all. Initially, the expectation of making yourself sit down for 20-minutes might play a deterrent. Eventually, the positive effects of journaling will come along, and you will be able to realize the benefits.
Why Should You Journal?
Maintaining a journal can be immensely beneficial for anyone. It develops your writing habits quite strongly, stimulates your creativity, and promotes a sense of general wellbeing. It is a process that helps you clear your thoughts and emotions and translates into problem-solving skills. Journaling for mental health increases your focus and productivity, optimizes your creative potential, and speeds up your ability to manifest goals. A journal recording your life is invaluable because it empowers you to track your behaviors and patterns over time. This recorded history can illustrate the trajectory of your personal growth and remind you of important moments in your life.
Benefits of Journaling for Mental Health
Whether you are suffering from an illness, burnout from work, or stressed about your relationships, journaling for mental health can help the cause.
Journaling Prevents You From Brooding
Although timing plays a significant role, recording an emotional event can aid you in breaking away from the non-stop cycle of brooding over or obsessively thinking about what happened. Recounting a traumatic event right after it happens can make you feel worse. But if you write about it after a substantial period of undergoing grief, trauma or disappointment, it can have a calming effect.
Journaling Reduces Anxiety
When you write about anxiety, it decreases your mental distress. It has been established through various studies over the years that those who wrote for 15 minutes, three days a week, for over a 12-week duration had increased feelings of wellbeing. They had reduced symptoms of depression after a month and continued to experience an improved sense of wellbeing.
Journaling Regulates Your Emotions
Studies suggest that those who write about their feelings have better control over their emotions than those who write about neutral experiences. Writing about feelings has a calming effect on our brains. Journaling helps.
Journaling for Mental Health Creates Awareness
Recording your feelings in challenging circumstances can help you understand them better. The act of wording the entire experience and structuring it allows you to look at things differently and sometimes even changes the way you perceive it.
Journaling for Mental Health Encourages You To Open Up
Writing about a stressful event can help you heal emotionally. It can help you exude positivity and reduce your negative emotions that increase stress, anxiety, and depression.
Different Types of Journaling Styles
While there are several types of journals to maintain, travel and food journals, and more, self-care journaling for mental health promotes a sense of mental wellness.
Deep Thought Journal
With a focus on problems, feelings and emotions you are experiencing, a deeper form of writing is sure to help. The idea is to write intensively about how you feel, why you feel in a certain way and what you think is the cause, wording out possible solutions and so forth. It is crucial to explore all the aspects of your emotions – positive, negative, black, white and grey – and evaluate various perspectives on the situations. This kind of self-awareness is empowering. It helps you grow positively.
Daily Log Journal
It is one of the most effective forms of journaling for mental health. What you write about reflects a lot about your day and keeps you focussed on the events that occurred during the day or any emotions you particularly experienced.
Writing morning pages is quite simple. You only have to be consistent in doing so. You can do it in a longhand stream of consciousness style the first thing in the morning. The idea is to clear your mind and get you ready for a more focused and productive day. When you word out your thoughts early in the morning, it helps you start your day right.
One Sentence Journal
Fast and simple, the one-page journal is all about writing one sentence a day. It will surely make you a copywriter someday. Jokes apart, it is an effective practice for those who have difficulty writing a page or two. If you want to start journaling for anxiety reduction, one-sentence journaling is the way to get started. After a few weeks, you will realize that the one-sentence entries are not sufficient anymore.
A gratitude journal is an expression of being grateful for all that you’ve got. Specifically, it is a record-keeping of all the good things that occurred throughout the day. Recording the positive events helps you focus on the positive aspects of life, count your blessings and help build resilience when situations become adverse. Gratitude journaling for mental health teaches you to appreciate the little things that you can be grateful for.
How to Start Journaling For Mental Health?
- Decide whether you want to maintain a journal digitally or on paper.
Typically, hand writing helps you process your thoughts better, but it is up to you to choose a format that suits you. Maintaining a paper journal makes it easier for you to get creative. Alternatively, you can use Google Docs to create and edit your documents on any device.
- Develop a Habit of Writing
To get the most out of journaling for mental health, it is essential to develop the habit of writing and stay consistent. Pick up a time slot and schedule the journaling time like you would schedule any other appointment. Get down to write, irrespective of how busy or occupied you are.
- Set a 20-minute timer and write until the timer goes off.
Spending 20 minutes a day writing isn’t too much to invest in yourself. Jot down or type all that comes to your mind throughout those 20 minutes. While the goal is to write about the stressors, don’t hesitate to write about anything that unburdens you. Uncover your innermost thoughts.
- Dont worry about the spelling or the grammar.
How you word it, whether you spell words correctly or not, it doesn’t matter if you use or don’t use proper sentences – the journal is for you. Let your thoughts flow freely without self-editing them. If you feel bothered by spelling or grammar mistakes, you can always correct them later, but it isn’t necessary.
- Get creative with what you write.
You may hate writing or take time to figure out what to write, but dont worry about that. You can play around with the way you make your entries. You can make a list, write a song or a poem, incorporate your thoughts by incorporating images, construct a letter or write a story. Write in any which way you like.
Maintaining a journal is a personal activity. It has to be carried out in a judgment-free zone. Permit yourself to write whatever you feel like without policing your emotions and thoughts. You don’t have to associate negative emotions such as guilt or embarrassment with what you write. You have the right to your emotions, feelings, and thoughts, to feel the way you think. Journaling is a way to help you resolve your inner conflicts. You can take the help of mental health apps to check on your progress. So, this holiday season, unburden your mind and get started with journaling for mental health.